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Studying Demographics Really Works

With permission I am re-posting a blog that one of my colleagues wrote. (Thank you Heather McNeill for your insights) The information is profound and applies across many industries. I would ask that you ponder the content and integrate the results into your own marketing practices.

“Years ago when I first started in public relations and grass roots organizing I managed lists of campaign donors.  What we knew about them had been collected by door-to-door canvassers who would ask people to sign petitions and donate to causes.   On the record, we knew their neighborhood, it’s approximate income level, if there were two heads of household (i.e. married) listed, and their donation history.

What was more interesting, was the off the record information from the canvassers.  In our office the canvassers had come up with the formula that the best way to identify a possible donor was by the car they drove. They would have turf wars over streets that exhibited the right kind of vehicle.  They would prioritize their route by the houses with most likely cars, down to the least likely.  Those that did this, met their quota’s and exceeded.

What kind of car people drove really has nothing to do with their beliefs and donation history… or does it?

Later on, I worked for a remodeling contractor.  Whenever I went on a sales call, the owner would ask me “How were there closets?”  and he would write down the notes.  After a few months, the company owner called a sales meeting and tossed out the most surprising and strange insight…

1. Messy homes and messy closet leads had the worst conversion rate.  They tended to ask for different contracts to be written, with subtle variations, and then they more often then not, did not sign on the bottom line.

2. On the other hand a neat home, with closets that they “just clean up” were the best signers, had the shortest construction schedules, and best profit margins.

3. While the immaculate home, both inside the closet and outside the closet, once again had a lower conversion rate, many of them disappeared without a trace, but the few that came through were some of the largest projects the company had, but they weren’t the most profitable projects.”

The dirty little secret of demographics is that when tracked analytics do offer valuable insight. Whether it’s closets or conversions through your website – demographics need to be studied, discussed, and courses need to be corrected when the information gathered supports the analysis.





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